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Walker Cup Captain in drugs arrest

Garth McGimpsey, the captain of Great Britain and Ireland’s Walker Cup side and Northern Ireland’s most capped amateur golfer, has protested his innocence after more than £100,000 worth of cocaine was reported to have been sent to his home in Northern Ireland.

The former British Amateur champion, 48, was arrested at his home in Bangor last week following a Customs and Excise investigation. He was questioned by Customs officers and detectives after cocaine was delivered to his house. McGimpsey was then released on bail pending inquiries.

One of the best respected men in amateur golf, the Walker Cup captain is due to receive an MBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace next week in recognition of his services to the game. McGimpsey was an outstanding leader of the GB&I side which pulled off an historic third successive win over the USA at Ganton last summer.

A spokesman for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, the organisation which appoints the Walker Cup captain, admitted yesterday the club was aware of the incident involving McGimpsey but had no other comment to make.

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, McGimpsey said: "Unfortunately I cannot say too much at the minute because of legal advice, although there is a lot I would like to say. The only thing I can tell you is that I am totally innocent and will be doing everything I can to clear my name."

The paper also quoted a local spokesman for Customs and Excise who said: "Officers were involved in a Class A drugs investigation in the North Down area on Thursday. One man was arrested and officers from the PSNI assisted."

McGimpsey, a former long driving champion, is due to lead the defence of the Walker Cup at the Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Illinois, next summer. As well as captaining the side at Ganton, McGimpsey also played in three Walker Cup teams in 1985, 1989 and 1991. He won four, halved two and lost five of his 11 matches and played a part in helping GB&I to defeat the US on home turf for the first time 15 years ago at Peachtree in Atlanta.

A member of Bangor, Royal Portrush and Royal County Down golf clubs, the individual highlight of his amateur career came in Scotland when he won the British Amateur Championship at Royal Dornoch in 1985. He competed for Ireland for 20 years in golf’s home internationals.

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